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Evaluation of AHRQ's Partnerships for Quality Program

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Final Report

To improve its services continuously, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) evaluates its programs to examine the performance of those programs in achieving their objectives. An important part of the HHS evaluation function is communicating the findings and recommendations of the evaluation studies.

This report evaluates a program of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). It was prepared by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., under Contract No. 233-02-0086.

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By Debra Lipson, Marsha Gold, Melanie Au, Katherine Gruene Segersten


Executive Summary
Structure of the Report
Chapter I. Background on the PFQ Program and Evaluation Goals
   A. Relevance of Partnerships to AHRQ Goals
   B. Origins and Purpose of the PFQ
   C. Grantee Solicitation and Awards
   D. Program Infrastructure and Oversight
   E. Evaluation Objectives
Chapter II. Evaluation Framework, Methods, and Data Sources
   A. Evaluation Framework
   B. Overview of Evaluation Design
   C. Sources of Information
   D. Key Constraints and Limitations
Chapter III. What Did Grantees Seek To Do?
   A. PFQ Project Focus
   B. Intervention Models and Strategies
   C. PFQ Grantee Organizations and Partnerships
   D. Expected Outcomes and Evaluation Approaches
   E. Implications of Diverse Projects for Evaluation
Chapter IV. What Did the PFQ Projects Achieve?
   A. Overall Outcomes
   B. Outcomes of Projects Seeking to Change Clinical Practice
   C. Outcomes and Findings from Bioterrorism and Emergency Preparedness Projects
   D. Sustainability and Broader Diffusion of Project Activities
Chapter V. Contribution of AHRQ and Program-Wide Infrastructure
   A. Grant Oversight
   B. Overall Program Management
   C. AHRQ Council of Partners
   D. Cross-Grantee Collaboration
Chapter VI. Contribution of Partnerships and Other Key Factors to Project Success and Sustainability
   A. Variation in Partnership Structure and Composition
   B. Factors Behind Successful Partnerships
   C. Role of Other Key Factors in Project Success/Sustainability
   D. Lessons on Elements of an Effective Partnership for Quality
Chapter VII. How Significant Overall Was PFQ in Contributing to AHRQ's Broader Strategic Goals?
   A. Accomplishments and Limitations
   B. Future Opportunities and Lessons
Appendix A: Additional Tables:
   A.1. Focus and Targets of PFQ Grants
   A.2. PFQ Grant Projects—Partner Organizations
   A.3. PFQ Project Evaluation Approaches and Measures
   A.4. PFQ Grants—Reach: Target Populations/Organizations and Number Participating in PFQ Project
   A.5. PFQ Grant Outcomes
   A.6. PFQ Grant Projects—Sustainability and Diffusion of Project Interventions
Appendix B: Summaries of PFQ Grantee Activities


The authors wish to extend their sincere appreciation to many people who made this report possible. We are indebted to the Partnerships for Quality grant leaders, including the Principal Investigators and their many partners throughout the country, who generously shared their time, project reports, and related project materials. Their insights into the challenges associated with partnership projects, and the factors that made their projects successful were extremely valuable.

We also thank the AHRQ staff who provided background about the origins of the PFQ program, as well as AHRQ project officers from throughout the agency, for helping us to understand their role in grant oversight and the significance of the grants they managed in their respective fields. We are especially grateful to Charlotte Mullican, AHRQ's program director for PFQ for her leadership of the program, and to Angela Lavanderos, program assistant, for making available program documents and information needed for this evaluation.

At Mathematica, Judith Wooldridge provided valuable feedback and suggestions on earlier drafts of this report. We also very much appreciate editorial assistance from Daryl Hall and Barbara Geehan, and production support from Felita Buckner.

Finally, we wish to acknowledge and give credit to David Introcaso, former program officer in the evaluation unit of AHRQ and instigator of this evaluation, for his vision and constructive guidance throughout the first half of the evaluation.

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AHRQ Publication No. 08-M010-EF
Current as of December 20, 2006

Internet Citation:

Evaluation of AHRQ's Partnerships for Quality Program. Program Evaluation. AHRQ Publication No. 08-M010-EF, December 20, 2006. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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